Rebecca B. Rubin
Kent State University
John A. Daly
University of Texas, Austin
Communication education programs, although they vary somewhat in size and content, have a central focus: teaching students how to send and receive messages, structure interaction, develop relationships, and cooperate with others. Higher education courses concentrate on increasing knowledge, motivation, and skill; they teach students how to act in ways that are socially appropriate for the context of interaction and those that are effective in bringing about desired outcomes.
Communication education serves a vital role in higher education. Classrooms are communication chambers and students with a poor understanding of the communication process and who lack essential speaking, listening, and relational skills have a fairly good chance at failing to obtain a good education. The speech communication discipline has focused on skill attainment, following principles set forth by the ancient Greek philosophers and later on the British and U.S. theorists ( Cohen, 1994; Enos, 1985). These principles are centered on how to best present oneself in a public forum, especially in persuasive situations where one's credibility is involved.